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for the middle class. this seems to be a broader strategy relating to taking the campaign inside out to say the president has -- is no longer on the campaign trail but knows one of the ways to get things done in washington -- supporters are gathering now -- to bring america to the white house and in so doing, basically get the american people to ratify the change that the president would like to see happen on capitol hill. >> yeah. this is one of the lessons he's learned from the obama care battle where he had no outside game. he basically told the left and all the folks who had supported him during the 2008 campaign, sit down, we've got this, we're going to do it through rahm emanuel, legislative wheeling and dealing. that didn't work so great. the other side flooded the capitol with people carrying guns so now he's mobilizing his base to try to get this done. >> and let us hear him mobilize that base. the president speaking at the white house. >> thank you so much. thank you, everybody. please have a seat. thank you.
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thank you very much. everybody, please have a seat. except you guys. don't sit down. well, good morning, everybody. >> good morning. >> you know, there's been a lot of talk here in washington about the deadlines we're facing on taxes and deficits. these deadlines are going to be coming up very soon in the coming weeks. but today's important because i want to make sure everybody understands this debate is not just about numbers. it's a set of major decisions that are going to affect millions of families all across this country in very significant ways. and their voices, the voices of the american people, have to be part of this debate. and so i asked some friends of mine here to join me, some folks from here in the area. our ultimate goal is an
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agreement that gets our long-term deficit under control in a way that is fair and balanced. that kind of agreement would be good for our businesses, it would be good for our economy, it would be good for our children's future. and i believe that both parties can agree on a framework that does that in the coming weeks. in fact, my hope is to get this done before christmas. but -- the place where we already have in theory at least complete agreement, right now, is on middle-class taxes. and as i've said before, we have two choices. if congress does nothing, every family in america will see their taxes automatically go up at the beginning of next year. starting january 1st, every family in america will see their taxes go up. a typical middle-class family of four, would see its income taxes go up by $2200.
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that's $2200 out of people's pockets. that means less money for buying groceries, less money for filling prescriptions, less money for buying diapers. it means a tougher choice between paying the rent and paying tuition and middle-class families just can't afford that right now. by the way, businesses can't afford it either. yesterday, i sat down with some small business owners who stressed this point. economists predict that if taxes go up on the middle class next year, consumers will spend nearly $200 billion less on things like cars and clothes and furniture, and that obviously means fewer customers that cuts into business profits, that makes businesses less likely to invest and higher, which means fewer jobs and that can drag our entire economy down. now the good news is, there's a
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better option. right now, as we speak, congress can pass a law that would prevent a tax hike on the first $250,000 of everybody's income. everybody's. and that means that 98% of americans and 97% of small businesses wouldn't see their income taxes go up by a single dime. 98% of americans, 97% of small businesses would not see their income taxes go up by a single dime. even the wealthiest americans would still get a tax cut on the first $250,000 of their income. so it's not like folks who make more than $250,000 aren't getting a tax break too. they're getting a tax break on the first $250,000 like everybody else. families and small businesses would, therefore, be able to enjoy some peace of mind heading intoes christmas and heading into the new year. and it would give us more time
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next year to work together on a comprehensive plan to bring down our deficits, to streamline our tax system, do it in a balanced way. including asking the wealthiest americans to pay a little more so we can still invest in things like education and training and science and research. now, i know some of this may sound familiar to you because we talked a lot about this during the campaign. this shouldn't be a surprise to anybody. this was a major debate in the presidential campaign and in congressional campaigns all across the country and a clear majority of americans, not just democrats, but also a lot of republicans and a lot of independents, agreed we should have a balanced approach to deficit reduction that doesn't hurt the economy and doesn't hurt middle-class families. i'm glad to see if you've been reading the papers lately more and more republicans in congress seem to be agreeing with this idea that we should have a balanced approach. so, if both parties agree we
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should not raise taxes on middle-class families, let's begin our work with where we agree. the senate's already passed a bill that keeps income taxes from going up on middle-class families. democrats in the house are ready to vote for that same bill today. if we can get a few house republicans to agree as well, i'll sign this bill as soon as congress sends it my way. i got to repeat, i've got a pen. i'm ready to sign it. [ applause ] so -- so my point here today is to say, let's approach this problem with the middle class in mind, the folks who are behind me, and the millions of people all across the country who they represent. the american people are watching what we do. milled class families, folks who are working hard to get into the middle class are watching what we do right now and if there's
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one thing that i've learned, when the american people speak loudly enough, lo and behold congress listens. some of you may remember that a year ago, during our last big fight to protect middle-class families, tens of thousands of working americans called and tweeted and e-mailed their representatives asking them to do the right thing. and sure enough, it worked. the same thing happened earlier this year when college students across the country stood up and demanded that congress keep rates low on their student loans. congress got the message loud and clear, and they made sure that interest rates on student loans did not go up. so, the lesson is that when enough people get involved, we have a pretty good track record of actually making congress work. and that's important because this is our biggest challenge yet. and it's one that we can only meet together, so in the interest of making sure that everybody makes their voices
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heard, last week we asked people to tell us what would a $2,000 tax hike mean to them. some families told us, it would make it more difficult for them to send their kids to college. others said it would make it tougher for them to cover the cost of prescription drugs. some said it would make it tough for them to make their mortgage. lynn lion who's here from newport news, she just wants to see some cooperation in washington. she wrote, let's show the rest of the world that we're adults and living in a democracy, we can solve our problems by working together. so that's what this debate is all about and that's why it's so important that as many americans as possible send a message that we need to keep moving forward. so, today, i'm asking congress to listen to the people who sent us here to serve. i'm asking americans all across the country to make your voice
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heard. tell members of congress what a $2,000 tax hike would mean to you. call your members of congress, write them an e-mail, post it on their facebook walls, you can tweet it using the #my2 k, not y 2 k, my2 k. we figured that would make it easier to remember. i'm doing my part. i'm sitting down with ceos, labor leaders, i'm talking to leaders in congress, be you know, i am ready and able and willing and excited to go ahead and get this issue resolved in a bipartisan fashion so that american families and american businesses have some certainty going into next year. and we can do it in a balanced and fair way, but our first job is to make sure the taxes on middle-class families don't go up and since we all theoretically agree on that, we
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should go ahead and get that done. if we get that done, a lot of the other stuff will be a lot easier. [ applause ] so in light of just sort of spreading misses theyage, i'm going to be -- spreading this message, i'm going to be in pennsylvania to talk to folks of a small business there that are trying to make sure that they're filling their christmas orders and i'll go anywhere and i'll do whatever it takes to get this done. it's too important for washington to screw this up. now is the time for us to work on what we all agree to, which is let's keep middle-class taxes low. that's what our economy needs, that's what the american people deserve, and if we get this part of it right, then a lot of the other issues surrounding deficit reduction in a fair and balanced and responsible way will be a whole lot easier. if we get this wrong, the economy is going to go south, it's going to be much more difficult for us to balance our
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budgets and deal with our deficits because if the economy is not strong, that means more money is going out and things like unemployment insurance and less money coming in terms of tax receipts and it makes our deficit worse. we really need to get this right. i can only do it with the help of the american people. so tweet, what was that again? my 2 k, tweet using the hash tag my 2 k or e-mail, post it on a member of congress's facebook walls. do what it takes to communicate a sense of urgency. we don't have a lot of time here. we've got a few weeks to get this thing done. we could get it done tomorrow. now, optimistically, i don't think we're going to get it done tomorrow. but i tell you, if everybody here goes out of their way to make their voices heard and spread the word to your friends and your family, your co-workers, neighbors, then i am
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confident we will get it done and we will put america on the right track not just for next year, but for many years to come. all right. thank you very much, everybody. [ applause ] >> appreciate it. >> that was president obama at the white house speaking about the bush-era tax cuts. he reiterated he has a pen and ready to sign a bill to extend the bill for middle class. joining us is sasha isenberg. there we have a picture of you. before i go to you, i want to bring this into our panel in new york for one quick second. governor rendell we were speaking during the break -- not during the break, over the president and saying to each other, this is -- >> we were listening. >> we're multitaskers. this playbook is dog erred. we have seen this tactic before and it was the same strategy the president used during the payroll tax cut down to the use of, you know, facebook pleas, the twitter hash tag i have a
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pen. >> the only thing that's new is a #my2k. >> it worked last time. >> it's what executives and politics who have the bully pulpit who can garner media attention can do and it's a very effective device. people are going to -- the congressmen are going to hear from a lot of their constituents saying why are you holding this up? this makes sense. everybody agrees. of course we know that they're holding it up because they don't want to give away their leverage but the average taxpayer doesn't understand that. it's a good tactic. >> it worked really well during the payroll tax fight and has begun to strike the ire of some republicans. mitch mcconnell said just the other day i believe yesterday, rather than sitting down with lawmakers of both parties and working out an agreement, he, obama, is back on the campaign trail, presumably with the same old talking points we're all familiar with. it is worth noting, that the house republicans are now doing kind of the exact same thing "the washington post" reporting in a sign that obama strategy
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poses a threat, house republicans announced their own pr effort tuesday. leadership aides say republican members of congress will visit small businesses nationwide in coming weeks to assert that obama's position would threaten job creation. the rnc has its own twitter hash tag which is stop the tax hikes. sas sasha, you wrote about campaign infrastructure and how sophisticated obama's machine was. this is certainly more -- more of a rudimentary version of that but it seems like the campaign is adapting both sort of rhetorically and anecdotally campaign tactics but also practically they're still keeping folks on the payroll. i think they hired just 100 folks from the campaign to come back and try to gin up enthusiasm for the president's policies or position out in actual america. >> yeah. a president trying to get local news coverage by traveling out of washington isn't terribly novel as a tactic. i think the big challenge or there's a special opportunity for obama is to mobilize a sort
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of grat rootssroots infrastruct. they tried to do this in 2009 during the health care fight and at a similar point they transitioned what had been the campaign into this organizing for america sort of campaign in exile and tried to get supporters out to talk to their members of congress and it didn't really take in the same way in part because people sort of know that they have a vote and asking their neighbors to go out and vote is sort of very tactile. you understand how that works. most voters are rightfully discouraged they can change their member of congress's opinion on something like this. so keeping a sort of sustained engagement of an activist class i think is a lot more work than just asking people to write something on twitter today on schedule a few events outside of the beltway. >> "the new york times" has a piece that speaks very much to that point about the health care battle and the president trying to sort of gin or electrify the
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infrastructure that got him into office and write in this first term, mr. obama's year-long battle over health care failed to inspire the million activists from his campaign to put pressure on republican lawmakers. we were stunned it never showed up. i mean, that's a fairly i wouldn't say dire but a negative assessment of how effective this can be, but yet when the president did this over the payroll tax cut fight it seemed to work well for him and everybody acknowledges for the most part that the white house won that round. >> yeah. i mean the pro noun in that blind quote was weird like they needed to turn it on and it didn't come. >> pro nouns are always weird. >> but the challenges that you have to get voters to think they can actually move congress and, you know, if people think that calling their member or writing a letter to the editor or posting stuff on facebook is going to move republican votes in the house, they have an interesting theory of like
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legislative influence. but it's really hard, i think, to sort of see people being convinced of that and then sort of changing their activity and communities in a sustained way to keep up this pressure. i mean, the reason that most lobbying campaigns end up focusing on electoral threats is that that's really where the leverage is felt to members of congress. elections have a way of focusing the mind. unless members think they are imperilled two years from now, based on what they do here, it will be very difficult for i think for the outside game to leave a mark. >> fear is a great motivator. rana, what's interesting is the president's singular focus on the bush tax cuts. we have a fiscal curve/cliff/mole hill, however you choose to describe it, that includes, of course, the bush tax cuts, but also, the bigger piece is sequestration and the payroll tax cut again. another fight the president has had before. what do you make of his focus only on the bush tax cuts and specifically the middle income earners.
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>> this was a theme throughout the campaign, something he came out early on and hit hard on. it underscores this larger issue about inequality in this country which is an economic problem. you can't have a sustained recovery when 98% of the population hasn't gotten a raise in the last few years or decades depending on who they are. i think people are starting to focus on that. i think this issue of taxes is crucial of that. i think if we're going to go to the other cuts that need to happen, the entitlement reform you need to have a sense from the population that the rich are doing their part, that there is a sort of social cohesion. you can look to europe and see what happens when you don't have that. >> the president spoke in his comments effectively he had a mandate, the thing he talked about on the campaign trail, about raising taxes for the wealthy so everybody had a fair shot and this is follow through. it also kind of, i won't say conveniently but neatly establishes this narrative that i think is going to be a centerpiece of the second administration, which is about the fairness doctrine and reforming all parts of our
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society, whether that's education or tax reform or energy reform to make it a more just and equitable society. >> as a tactical move it works onnerly re lly -- every level f. it works on bipartisan strategy, we all agree on this and start there. it takes something off the table before the harder stuff gets discussed. depriving as governor rendell the other side of its main leverage. so on all of those levels it works for him and it accomplishes what he wants to, which is to level the playing field in terms of income inequality. >> governor, we're going to have senator patty murray on the show in just a few minutes. in terms of getting this done, what do you think the president needs at this point? does he have all the arrows that he needs to get the tax cuts extended for the middle class and to expire for the upper income? >> he does if he's willing to use them. the part of this, the danger in this appeal, is that sometimes the president's going to have to go back to the same people that
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he's gining up here and saying you're going to take it a hit. the only way we will get this done. look, i think republicans are softening on increasing revenue, maybe voting for rates but only do it with significant spending cuts, particularly entitlements. it's going to be a quid pro quo. patty murray has to understand that, chuck schumer, all of our progressives and our party has to understand that. he has to make it work. only the president can do that. he has to use some of his arrows on his base. we don't have to get every democratic vote but we have to get more democrats to vote for this than republicans in the senate and house. >> sasha, as a victory lap technician, before i let you go, i have to ask, which is -- i mean, in your view the better #my2k or #stopthetaxhike. >> i like my 2 k because i'm
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nostalgic before the mayan apocalypse scared us. >> kuz sasha consider yourself a quant? >> no. if you saw my grades in college you would agree. >> you blossomed late intellectually. >> thanks. >> my friend and pal, author of "the victory lab." pick up a copy of sasha's book, "the victory lab the secret science of winning campaigns" from one of the ten best political reporters of the year. law makers could allow the u.s. to take the plunge but will the president let them? >> here's what's really scaring me, folks. republicans might let him do it. even though every republican in congress has signed the no taxes pledge, created by the president of americans for tax reform, grover norquist. the two most terrifying words a
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republican can hear, other than buenos dias. >> we will ask senator patty murray why she thinks going over the edge is a good idea when she joins us live next on now. >> time for the your business entrepreneur of the week. christine wants you to shop mall. the owner of a south carolina toy store believes in cooperation instead of competition and has a section dedicated to locally made products to make sure that her customers dollars stay local. for more watch your business sunday morning at 7:30 on msnbc. anncr: some politicians seem to think medicare and...
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we earned them. and if washington tries to cram decisions about the future... of these programs into a last minute budget deal... we'll all pay the price. aarp is fighting to protect seniors with responsible... solutions that strengthen medicare and... social security for generations to come. we can do better than a last minute deal... that would hurt all of us. cue the drum roll please, a top republican is trying to put distance between the gop and tax master grover norquist. at a closed-door meeting yesterday congressman tom cole urged his colleagues to get in line behind president obama and vote to extend only the bush tax cuts for middle income earners. such a move could lead to the expiration for the bush tax cuts for the top 2%. before the norquist spirit chasers could reach him, cole clarified today republicans could live to fight for lower rates another day.
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>> in my view, we all agree that we're not going to raise taxes on people that make less than $250,000. we should just take them out of this discussion right now. continue to fight against any rate increases. continue to try to work for a much bigger deal. >> could this be the sign of an evolving republican party? one that will relent on tax increases to make a deal with president obama? house speaker john boehner said no way. >> i told tom earlier in our conference meeting that i disagreed with him. you're not going to grow the economy if you raise tax rates on the top two rates. it will hurt small businesses and hurt our economy. >> joining me now from washington, d.c., the democratic senator from washington, patty murray, a member of the senate budget committee. it is great to have you on the program. >> well, thank you, alex. nice to chat with you. >> senator, let's talk about the fiscal cliff. increasingly we are referring to it as the fiscal curve, possibly
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among some folks in our circle, the fiscal mole hill. you have advocated going over the fiscal cliff as a way for both democrats and republicans to make a deal and i will call to mind -- i will call to everyone's attention comments you made at the brookings institution this summer when you said if the bush tax cuts expire every proposal will be a tax cut proposal and the norquist pledge will no longer keep republicans boxed in and unable to compromise. which would seem to be good news for republicans. what do you make of john boehner's statement saying bad idea? >> well, first of all, i respect representative cole for saying the obvious, that there is no need to hold 98% of our middle-class families and 97% of our small businesses hostage just in order to protect the wealthiest americans. that this fiscal cliff that we are facing can be resolved very quickly if we pass a bill to extend the tax cuts for those people. i really hope that that's what
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we can do in the next two weeks in order to really take that off the table for american families who have suffered so much in all of this. >> but seeing that schism between the speaker of the house that has a conservative house caucus and other folks even in the senate who have a more progressive view on this thing, is this a sign of sis m or do you think the president has advocated the fever may be breaking amongst republicans over the questions of tax razors. >> i think it is a realistic approach to where we are today. the american public spoke in this last election very loud. the issue of whether or not the tax cuts to go back to the clinton era for the top 2% ought to happen, was debated pretty loud everywhere and the president won, senate democrats won, and that issue was clearly stated by many americans that they believe the top 2% of americans should participate in helping us in this challenging
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time that we have. and paying their fair share. so i think it's a practical response from within the republican party that we are beginning to hear that i really hope will get us past this point. >> senator, let's talk specifically about the language around the fiscal cliff. because on one hand some folks are saying and you would seem to be one of them, the fiscal cliff will not shut down the american economy. at the same time the president has said he will not go over the fiscal cliff. he has seemed to sort of say -- it's sort of a passive agreement perhaps that is not a good idea to go over the fiscal cliff. is this an example of democrats playing good cop/bad cop? >> what we are all saying is, it's not a good idea to go over the fiscal cliff. no one wants to see that happen. it is a bad idea. but a worse idea is to accept a compromise that allows the wealthy americans to continue to not pay their fair share because the result of that will be middle-class families will bear the entire burden of the challenges that this country faces. and that's not fair or
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responsible. so, if they don't agree to allow the extension of the tax cuts to go back to the clinton era for the top 2%, and we can't get an agreement and go off the fiscal cliff, then on january 1st we have a different scenario here. anything will be a tax cut and the reason that's important is apparently this grover norquist pledge has kept republicans consistently from being able to say we will put these -- this revenue issue on the table. it changes the dynamic of that. do i want to see it happen? no. i think we can resolve it before then. but if they insist on protecting the top 2% of participating in this challenge, that's where they're going to find themselves. >> senator, i have to ask this question because "the washington post" has fairly strongly worded editorial talking about democrats and how they're handling the question of entitlement reform which has been part of this discussion. the president has been focused more on the bush tax cuts piece.
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i will read an excerpt which says since his re-election mr. obama has fueled a campaign style effort to pressure republicans to give ground on taxes. that's fine, but it won't be enough. at some point, he has to prepare the american people and his own supporters most of all for the hard decisions required to put the country on a sound financial footing. that means spending cuts, it means entitlement reform, it means compromise, a balanced solution that will please neither house speaker john boehner nor senate majority leader harry reid. senator, when are the democrats going to be talking about the hard decisions? >> alex, that is a very important point and i heard ed rendell refer to it a few minutes ago if your conversation. we all know that there is three parts to solving this problem. there is cutting expenditures, there are entitlements and there are revenue. democrats on the joint select committee that i chaired a year ago, could put serious proposals on that on the table. why we couldn't come to an
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agreement the republicans refused to put revenue on the table. they do that now, do it responsibly, fairly do it in a real way, then yes, we all know that we have to participate in some tough discussions and are willing to do that. but not until we get that piece that republicans have refused to put on the table so far, which is the revenue, mparticularly o the wealthy. >> governor rendell the senator channeled your name. i will direct this to you. when we talk about the conversation around entitlement reform. i think there's confusion in the american public about what programs need to be trimmed, the options are, where people stand on the issues. if you look, a poll said 79% of the country want changes to fix social security and medicare. when you get into the specifics and say what about raising the medicare age from 65 to 67 only 30% of the country supports that. >> that's why senator murray said and i said earlier, look, there's no question, everyone's going to feel some pain. the middle class should be
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protected to the greatest extent possible. to say that they're not going to feel some pain is totally naive. we're not going to have a deal unless the pain is spread universally. but i think what the senator is saying and i know what the president is saying, is there has to be a balance and we're going to have to produce revenue and it's going to hurt -- not hurt but it's going to produce some pain fors the top 2% and by the way, on deductions, most of the deduction reform that we need and we need more than the 8 had $00 billion -- $800 billion from raising rates most of the deduction reform is going to hurt the upper class too as it should. governor romney suggested that during the campaign. >> senator, pain is not something we like to talk about in american politics under any circumstances. are you confident -- i mean there has been some talk democrats do not want to put entitlement reform on the table at all ever. but you seem to think this is a real -- this will happen? >> alex, and, in fact, on the super committee the democrats put forward serious proposals on
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entitlement reform. we have stated very clearly, that you don't have to cut benefits to do it. that will impact people directly. i mean charging people more for their medicare is not part of the solution that we believe. privatizing it as ryan has suggested it. but we put serious, you know, considerable dollars on the table. that was rejected by the republicans for one reason. they didn't want to match it with revenue. and that's why the debate we're having right now, about extending the bush tax cuts for 98% of the americans, the middle class, is the right thing to do. letting the wealthiest tax cuts, the tax cuts go back to the clinton era, will provide the revenue so that those cuts don't to be deep and hurt so badly. >> senator patty murray, the fight we have a long way to go, even though the calendar year ends on december 31st, thank you so much for your time. >> coming up, ambassador susan rice returns to the hill to meet with the new set of republican
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after a trio of skeptical republican senators voiced their troubles with u.n. ambassador susan rice's answers yesterday another top gop lawmaker senator susan collins went there today. >> what troubles me so much is the benghazi attack in many ways echos the attacks on those embassies in 1998 when susan rice was head of the african region for our state department. >> we discuss the latest chapter in the republican crusades when
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at legalzoom a legal plan attorney is available in most states with every personalized document to answer questions. get started at legalzoom.com today. and now you're protected. in her second day of meetings with top republicans trying to make nice after weeks of criticism over her response to the benghazi attacks ambassador rice failed to get senator susan collins on her side. >> i continue to be troubled by the fact that the u.n. ambassador decided to play what was essentially a political role at the height of a contentious presidential election. >> collins also used the press conference to launch a new line of attack against rice, tying her to the embassy attacks in africa in 1998 when she was the assistance secretary for african affairs. >> in both cases, the ambassa r
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ambassadors begged for additional security. the ambassador to kenya sent repeated messages to the state department. i asked ambassador rice what her role was. she said that she would have to refresh her memory, but that she was not involved directly in turning down the request. >> joining the panel now is buzz feed's mckay coppens who literally ran across the brooklyn bridge to get here and from capitol hill someone who does i think a fair share of running my friend nbc's luke russert. luke, i want to go to you first on this. i think a lot of folks were holding their breath to see how susan collins would come out after her meetings with susan rice, given the fact that yesterday there was a no love loss between senators graham, mccain and ayotte. vis-a-vis the u.s./u.n. ambassador. were you surprised susan collins went into a new line of attacks
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specifically indicting susan rice in the kenyan embassy attacks in the late '90 snz. >> yes. it was surprising. from folks i spoke to on capitol hill involved in national security issues did not see susan collins going into that direction. susan collins is a moderate republican, not one to be known to be an obstructionist in any capacity. she was one of the primary sponsors of don't ask, don't tell repeal when that went through last year. so it's interesting to see susan colin goss on this line of attack saying she doesn't want to see the u.n. ambassador be a political spokesperson like susan rice was on the sunday shows. also opening up the new line of attacks when susan rice was in charge during the attacks in africa. that is something to a chill observer seems like okay, susan collins has done her research, that would be brought up in a confirmation hearing specifically saying why did you fail the country supposedly back in the '90s. the most interesting thing here,
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though, alex, was susan collins basically endorsing john kerry. that has been all the chatter from republicans. john kerry would sail through here. some democrats say, the reason why they have the chatter about john kerry, they want to get scott brown elected in a special election. if john kerry is nominated they could lose a senate seat. a lot of other democrats that say look, president obama should not waste his political capital on susan rice. we have a fiscal cliff, we want to do immigration reform. why have this nasty fight. john kerry has been a loyal deputy to president obama. let him get through here. john kerry gave him the speaking role at the '04 convention, john kerry endorsed him after he lost new hampshire in 2008. john kerry has been loyal. it's his turn. that's the interesting subplot along with the gop attacks on susan rice, not only for how she dealt with benghazi but now susan collins a moderate opening up about her time in the clinton administration back in the late '90s.
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>> intrigue on capitol hill, mckay. i thought it was because the gop loved john kerry, thought he was the best dude for the job. not anything to do with controlling the senate or having more power. as luke says, this seems to be as nakedly political as anything gets. this is absolutely a target on susan rice's back because she is president obama's pick to be secretary of state. the question is now, can the president back down? i mean, if he does not nominate susan rice, is he backing down to the gop? >> you have a president that wants to show he has a mandate coming out of the election, not just to tackle tax reform but to kind of flex his muscle and show, look, the majority of americans are on my side. house republicans just want to win, they want some kind of win here and they think that even john kerry, not always the republican's favorite democrat, would be considered a victory for them because it would be not president obama's first choice.
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the question like luke said, does president obama want to -- you know, he could back down and it would be a show he's committed to immigration reform and the points he wants to tackle next year, but i mean, at this point -- >> optically. >> it would be tough, especially for -- and governor rendell would be able to talk to this -- the people on the left in congress, right? how would they feel if president obama immediately hands a win to the house republicans. >> and i also have to say, this new line of questioning, and i found one part of susan collins' remarks particularly despicable, which is, this notion of eerie echos, and if we're talking about questionable state department testimony, let's just remember colin powell and weapons of mass destruction. which brought the country to war. we are talking about someone who had nothing to do with benghazi, who was, perhaps, inaccurately and maybe not the best choice to go on the sunday shows b ut the notion of culpability and the
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scale of indictment is so disproportionate to the actual crime if there was even one committed. >> you can hear them grasping for an explanation of why they're going after her. she did this nakedly political role. oh look what happened in kenya. the intelligence was wrong, the talking points, they keep flailing around, trying to come up with a rationale for what you said is nakedly a political gamble on their part. the question with president obama and whether he will back down, historically, presidents get to choose their secretary of state. that is not a function that congress plays with any seriousness in the way it does say with the supreme court nomination. for the president to crede that after a thorough thumping of the other party, in an election, after a almost landslide -- >> in the senate specifically. >> why would he crede that kind of authority to them. there's just no reason. >> also, just to talk a minute about the issue of intelligence and how it's gathered and
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disseminated this is intelligence 101, it's basic after an event like what happened in benghazi, you have immediate intelligence what she was being given and read, intelligence being gathered for hours and days and months afterwards that is normal and natural and for that to evolve. people should realize that. >>s the republicans' concern she didn't ask for more information. she saw classified information that did seem to undermine the intelligence that she was passing on. >> the other thing, there may be legitimate questions for congress to ask in this situation. >> right. >> what did we know on the ground, why didn't we have better information, why wasn't there better security. perfectly reasonable for congress to ask those questions and to push hard to get answers to them. going after susan rice does not get you answers to those questions. >> seems like the republicans should move on to other serious questions. >> well, especially if -- yes, yesterday, mccain and ayotte and graham were saying we want to know why the u.s. military was unable to respond within search hours, our consulate was left so
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insecure. these are not questions susan rice has the answer to. luke, i want to ask about the interpersonal dynamics. susan rice is tough and as the governor said during the break she does not suffer fools badly. these were make nice meetings that didn't seem to go so well, correct? kelly ayotte known as a particular fire brand but came out with very, very strong language and said she would put a hold on susan rice's nomination. >> look, two things were surprising here. number one, a visit like this when you're actually not the nominee to be secretary of state, is a little odd. we were talking with other reporters earlier and no one can really remember these types of diplomatic visits for someone not officially nominated. after the criticism of rice softened this past weekend a lot of us expected this would be a get nice pow wow. it turned out to be awfully different, alex, and going forward it seems like the gop has centered on this is going to be their battle, their political battle, they feel they can score at lot of points on and the question comes back to how much capital is the white house
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willing to spend. i want to leave you with one scenario before i cut off. if john kerry is nominated to be secretary of state, there's a special election in massachusetts, duval patrick, could he nominate himself to be senator from massachusetts? or i've heard from some democrats the possibility that the only one who could beat scott brown would be joe kennedy iii. what a story that would be. >> throwing a stick of dynamite. >> joe kennedy iii in the house for a few weeks and then runs for the senate, that would be quite a story from a political reporter's standpoint. >> luke, sometimes we talk to you, it's kind of darkened halls, nothing much going on. today you are at the center of the action. >> fired up and ready to go. hey, coppens for mayor. >> mckay coppens for mayor. >> go on twitter if you don't know what that's about. >> thank you. >> tennessee senator bob corker spoke after his meeting with ambassador rice. we will bring you that after the break. ♪
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i would just ask that the president step back away from all the buzz around this particular situation and take a deep breath and decide who is the best secretary of state for our country at this time when we have so many issues to deal with. >> that was senate tennessee senator bob corker moments ago following his meeting wit ambassador susan rice on capitol hill. governor rendell he wants the president to take a deep breath and step back. i could say maybe senate republicans could do much the same on all of this. >> no question. don't you think senator corker struck the right tone and said let's get away from this, who struck john and susan rice this and all of the controversy and look at the facts. first of all, she hasn't been
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nominated. when she's nominated if she is nominated, let's see what her qualifications are. that's legitimate. >> you know what's amazing, we said this during the break we have not heard the name hillary clinton once as we talk about this. >> i think they're afraid to take hillary on. >> slap on the table for 2016, governor rendell. thanks to our panel. mckay coppens who ran to be here, i'm sorry we did not have more face time with you. see you tomorrow live from washington, d.c., where i'll be having make nice meetings. we'll be here at noon eastern, 9:00 a.m. pacific when joined by josh green, ryan grim and former dnc communications chair karen finney. find more outside in strategies and related snack foods that's a tease on our facebook page at facebook.com/now with alex. "andrea mitchell reports" is coming up next.
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NOW With Alex Wagner
MSNBC November 28, 2012 9:00am-10:00am PST

News/Business. Alex Wagner. Forces driving the day's stories. New.

TOPIC FREQUENCY Susan Rice 14, Us 11, Washington 11, John Kerry 11, Susan Collins 10, Rendell 7, America 6, Benghazi 5, Patty Murray 5, U.n. 4, Luke 4, Obama 4, U.s. 3, Medicare 3, John Boehner 3, Grover Norquist 3, Alex 3, Aarp 2, New York 2, Kenya 2
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